I know I said I almost never listened to music and strictly speaking it’s true but ever so often some music sneaks up on me and I keep coming back to it. One album that has stuck with me for ten years now is Chupacabra by Imani Coppola. Every time I’ve gone to live in a new place, whether it was Italy or the UK or whenever I’m just traveling, it has always been among the ten or so Cd’s I choose to bring with me.
It’s not a very well-known album, Imani had one hit song, Legend Of A Cowgirl, and her record company dropped her pretty quickly. Their loss, in my opinion, but I gave up on the music industry a long time ago. One of the contributing factors to my lack of interest in music is probably the sheer amount of crap that’s readily available when listening to the radio or watching the music channels on TV. Of course getting to the good stuff has always been possible but as with anything here in life it’s a matter of choice and my priorities have been elsewhere. The Internet has already changed things a lot and it will be interesting to see how the relationship between the artists and the listeners is going to develop. I know I’ll probably never again buy a CD from music shops but get my music from the Internet, preferably paying the artist directly. This kind of behavior is clearly a major challenge to the whole music industry, not only the record companies but also the whole net of distributors, especially the large chain stores. I’m actually not that worried about the small independent shops as I think there’ll always be a market for specialty shops where collectors and people fascinated with old-fashioned techniques can get what they want.
However, this is not supposed to be a discussion about the music industry but about music. I have several reasons for liking this album. First of all it’s a connected whole. All too often you get an album where
only a couple of the songs are worth listening to and the rest is just
there to fill out the space so you feel you get your money’s worth. Here every song is worth listening to and they all show different aspects of the artist as person which is another quality about the album. It’s a very personal work where Imani brings herself into the songs and makes you care about whatever the song is about. It’s something that only she could have created in comparison to so much other pop music where the pretty face singing seems so replaceable. Secondly, it’s good pop music which is not easy to do. It’s happy, light and playful without being trivial and shallow. When I say happy I mean the kind of happiness that comes from accepting that life sometimes can be shit but at the same time being excited about being alive and a want for what life has to offer. And I like that in her world life has more to offer than just romantic love. I have some issues with what I call the big love conspiracy that brainwashes especially young girls into thinking that the most important thing here in life is to find a man and get married and have children. Of course a lot of music these days is taking this a step further and suggests that sex is the most important thing. To me love and sex are an important part of life but not everything. It’s often said that the want for love and sex can be a creative drive but it can also be an obstacle that drains you for energy you need elsewhere.
I haven’t said much about how the music is in itself which is mostly because of my lack of knowledge about musical terms and styles. One thing that it may seem superfluous to point out is that the girl can actually sing and play but with all the small voices around these days it’s worth doing. Her base is hip hop and rap but she makes it her own style by using many different input from other genres. Her use of samples and musical instruments that are usually not used with hip hop or are used in a less original way is part of what makes her music stand out and seem so playful. It certainly doesn’t have any of that draggy heaviness that often bothers me in hip hop when the beat is allowed to dominate too much.
As I mentioned above I don’t have any particular claims for my opinion of this music and it’s certainly not very objective but then who’s ever completely objective when they review something. At least I hope I’ve made it clear why I like this music but I can’t guarantee that you’ll feel the same about it.